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Zephyr Scale is a test management platform that provides a smarter and more structured way to plan, manage, and measure your tests inside Jira. From the ground up, it’s built to support large test libraries and growing teams that struggle to scale their processes.

What Is Zephyr Scale?

Zephyr Scale is a test management tool for Jira designed for managing software quality in complex environments. Built as an optimized Atlassian Marketplace application for Jira, Zephyr Scale offers structured test management and test libraries for both agile and waterfall-focused teams looking to advance their testing and improve software quality.

It is delivered by SmartBear Software, the premier provider for software quality and developer tools including Bugsnag, TestComplete, Swagger, ReadyAPI, PactFlow, Cucumber, Zephyr Squad etc.

Who Is Zephyr Scale For?

Zephyr Scale is ideal for organizations with larger numbers of teams or that have demanding data requirements because it offers cross-project integration, traceability, and a structure designed useful in large environments. It is equally utilized with smaller organizations that want room to grow.

What Challenges Does Zephyr Scale Help Solve?

Challenge 1: Hard to manage large data sets and cross-project traceability. 

Zephyr Scale has features specifically designed for larger and more complex software development organizations. It can manage large data sets, re-indexing, and complex organizational needs like handling cross-project integrated traceability.

Challenge 2: Finding a cloud fortified software that is stable and secure.

Larger and more regulated organizations want to have a sense that they are in the most secure and stable environment possible. To address this, Atlassian built out their Atlassian Cloud Fortified designation for apps that have met and or exceeded their most stringent stability, uptime, response, and security requirements. Zephyr Scale is Cloud Fortified and was built with a cloud first design mentality.

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What’s On The Zephyr Scale Roadmap?

Since Zephyr Scale was originally created in 2014 under the name TM4J, the product has continued to evolve. In 2021, Zephyr Scale improved the traceability panel in the Jira issue view. In 2022, the product released a redesigned test plan library and added support for even more automation frameworks, including JUnit 4 and 5, Robot, Pytest, TestNg, and Nunit.

zephyr scale test plan library screenshot
Redesigned test plan library in Zephyr Scale

Zephyr Scale also expanded on the results from automated tests coming from Cucumber, for example, users now get a detailed view of the source of the error, to help them find and fix any issues.

zephyr scale test result screenshot
Detailed Cucumber results in Zephyr Scale

And the product roadmap for the second half of 2022 includes some exciting updates, namely:

  • Implement server to cloud migration path with the Jira Cloud Migration Assistant (JCMA)
  • Data residency: to help you decide where the data is located

Zephyr Scale Features Overview

To get an idea of how Zephyr Scale works, here’s a tour of the main features and how they can help you manage testing across multiple projects with end-to-end traceability.

1. Permissions Control

Zephyr Scale allows you to get pretty granular with permissions. You can specify which users have access to various functions within the application, like test cases, test cycles, executions and reports. For example, you set that only specific testers have the ability to create, edit, or delete test cases.

Permission to perform such actions can be set at the individual Jira user level, a Jira role, or a group. If you work in a regulated environment, this allows you to narrow it down and make granular choices. Learn more about setting permissions with Zephyr Scale.

zephyr scale permission control screenshot
Zephyr Scale allows you to set permission controls for different roles on your team.

2. Folders For Artifact Grouping

As you increase the number of test cases, cycles, and/or plans in your project, organizing your content is increasingly important. You can use folders to group testing artifacts, tests for specific functions, requirements, or different test types, such as performance tests, integration tests or system-level tests.

Another great way to keep your test library organized and avoid performance issues is to archive unused test cases. This won’t delete your testing data permanently, and you can easily move archived test cases back into the active test library at any time.

zephyr scale folders screenshot
Set up different folders to keep your tests organized.

3. Call To Test Feature

The most valuable test cases are those which are broadly applicable and reusable across your cycles and releases. When it comes to reusability, Zephyr Scale has a modular test case design. For example, if you would like to call another test case—maybe it's a login test case that you know you're going to utilize in a lot of different areas—you can add that as a step within the test case.

Using the Call to Test feature, not only can you choose a test case from your current Jira project, but you can also choose a test case from an entirely different project. In a similar fashion, if you wanted to pull in a couple of tests to a particular test cycle from another project, you can do so with Zephyr Scale.

zephyr scale test cases screenshot
Save and reuse common test cases on Zephyr Scale.

4. Version Control

Version control is enabled by default in Zephyr Scale and allows teams to collaborate and manage multiple versions of test cases simultaneously. This lets you track the full change history and establishes a single point of maintenance.

If you want to compare what's changed between versions, Zephyr Scale can highlight these differences within the test case. The ability to create new versions can be managed in Project Settings, adding another layer of security for teams working in regulated spaces with strict audit requirements.

zephyr scale version control screenshot
View all changes made to every test case.

5. Jira Issue/Story View

Tight integration between Jira and Zephyr Scale lets you view testing efforts without leaving the issue view. This means that anybody with access to Jira can get a great idea of what's going on from a testing perspective.

At a glance, you can see all the traceability/coverage-related items, such as test cases and cycles, as well as review any linked testing results. If you need to see more detail, you can easily jump from the issue view panel straight into Zephyr Scale.

zephyr scale jira issue screenshot
View all changes made to every test case.

6. Test Player

Zephyr Scale also provides the flexibility for users to manage and execute tests directly from the Jira issue view. For example, quickly generate a new test case or add an existing test case to the issue you are currently viewing. After creating and linking the test case or acceptance test to your user story, you can then initiate a test execution from the Jira issue view by clicking on the Play icon.

This will launch the Test Player, where actual testing occurs and is tracked within Zephyr Scale. The links are bi-directional, so not only do the test case links appear on the Jira issue, but the link to the Jira issue appears on the test case’s Traceability tab in Zephyr Scale.

7. Custom Queries In Zephyr Scale Reports

Some of the hidden talents of Zephyr Scale lies in the ability to fine-tune its built-in reports with custom queries. This allows both technical and non-technical users to slice and dice testing results to their specific needs.

For instance, if you want to conduct cross-project reviews for a client or testing effort, you can filter reports by single or multiple projects. Zephyr Scale reports can also filter by epics, stories, or versions, so you get full visibility on the testing progress for a given area of work or release.

zephyr scale custom queries screenshot
You can filter project reports by epics, stories, or versions.

8. Ready-to-use Traceability Reports

Zephyr Scale comes with a wide array of ready-to-use reports. If you want to see your Jira test coverage from a range of helpful perspectives, you can view it on the traceability reports directly from Zephyr Scale. You can trace between Jira issues and coverage-related items, as well as Zephyr Scale-specific test artifacts like test cases and test executions.

Similar to other reports, if you want to look at specific issues or test plans, you can narrow this report down by running a custom query.

There are many more reports on Zephyr Scale (along with a selection of Jira dashboard gadgets) that provide actionable insights into your testing effort and your team’s progress in Jira.

Zephyr Scale vs Competitors

Zephyr Scale vs spreadsheet document

Generally, very small teams use spreadsheet documents. It should not be the case, as Zephyr Scale is free for users with Jira instances in the 1-10 user band. Zephyr Scale offers a fully-functioning tool and testing management features that they need now.

Zephyr Scale vs other Atlassian Marketplace-based apps

There are several choices on the market, but none match Zephyr Scale’s features, capabilities to handle larger enterprise needs, support, or can deliver on the performance. Unlike most other competitors of this type, Zephyr Scale has received a Cloud Fortified badge from Atlassian, which shows compliance with Atlassian’s highest requirements around security, reliability, and support on Cloud.

Zephyr Scale vs legacy solutions

Legacy solutions built predominantly around traditional legacy IT operations and enterprise software procurement motions do not have the degree of integration within Atlassian Jira and often are considerably more expensive to acquire, deploy, and maintain. They may offer some robust features, so buyers should evaluate the best value delivered against their requirements. 

Zephyr Scale Integrations

What makes Zephyr Scale stand out from similar tools is that its test entities are linked, but not directly based on the Jira issue types. This lets you configure Zephyr Scale exactly to your team’s needs. For example, you can add your own custom fields and statuses at a project level, without the need to involve a Jira admin.

That means no more waiting for the Jira admin to add the necessary fields to augment your workflow. There are many more aspects you can tweak, such as create custom labels, data sets, and priorities. You can even associate test cases with different environments. Learn more about configurations in Zephyr Scale.

In addition to Jira, Zephy Scale Integrates across multiple tools & frameworks:

  • Import and export support for XLS & XML
  • Create BDD/ Gherkin test cases to align teams using Cucumber
  • CI Servers integration (Jenkins, Bamboo & more)
  • REST API to integrate with automation: Selenium, JUnit, Nunit, Robot

Zephyr Scale Pricing

Zephyr Scale, as an Atlassian Marketplace application integrated with Jira, aligns with the number of users per instance. For smaller organizations just starting out with 1-10 users, the solution is free of charge. Pricing scales as customers add Jira users per the marketplace licensing model.

Organizations interested in exploring the tool can do so with a free, 30 day trial.

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John Whittaker
By John Whittaker

John Whittaker is a subject matter expert for emerging technology businesses – specifically, developing strategies to build those businesses. He’s led software, technology, and information security divisions at world-renowned organizations like Dell, Quest Software, Persistent Systems, and SmartBear. He is currently VP of Marketplaces at SmartBear and drives innovation, strategy, and growth with that portfolio (Zephyr, Swagger, Cucumber, Bugsnag).